Mo Farah has mastered the track and the multiple global and continental 5000m and 10,000m is now chasing fast times and major accolades in the marathon.
Farah, who has represented Great Britain at international level since the 1999 World U18 Championships when he ran the 3000m, is committed to extending his career through until the 2020 Olympics - health permitting - but his immediate goal is the Chicago Marathon on Sunday (7).
British runners have a long affinity with the Chicago Marathon. Steve Jones broke the world record in this race in 1984 with 2:08:05 and Paula Radcliffe followed suit eighteen years later with victory in a world record and still-standing course record of 2:17:18.
Farah is looking to run his way into the record books tomorrow and has said Sondre Nordstad Moen’s European record of 2:05:48 is within his capabilities - even though the conditions might not be entirely conducive to record-breaking exploits.
“I am in decent shape and I believe the European record is definitely in with a shout. Even if it is raining it is still on. The rain isn’t a problem but the wind could be. If we haven’t got the wind against us most of the way it is possible,” Farah told The Guardian ahead of the race.
After a brief acquaintance with the distance in 2014 when he clocked 2:08:21 to finish eighth in the London Marathon, Farah fully demonstrated his range extends all the way from 1500m up to the marathon by finishing third in London in Aril, setting a British record and European-leading time of 2:06:21. In cooler conditions and with more circumspect pacing (Farah went through halfway under world record pace in 61:03) a faster time surely would have been on the cards as well.
“I really enjoyed the training. I’ve put in a good block of training in Flagstaff. Going into 2014 when I did my first marathon, I was thinking about the track - now I’m not thinking about the track,” Farah told LetsRun.com. “Since London I feel like I’ve learnt a lot - to go off at that crazy pace and come back in a British record, I thought it was decent.”
Farah, who warmed up for the Chicago Marathon with another victory in the Great North Run in 59:27, is looking to pass through the halfway stage tomorrow in 62 minutes which would put Moen’s European record in sight.
But despite improving to 2:06:21 in the London Marathon, Farah is still only the eighth fastest entrant in the elite men’s race. The list is headed by Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew (2:04:00) and Berhanu Legese (2:04:15) and former winner Dickson Chumba from Kenya (2:04:32).
Farah will also rekindle his rivalry with former long-time training partner and reigning champion Galen Rupp (2:06:07) while world champion Geoffrey Kirui (2:06:27) from Kenya also competes.